Friday, September 04, 2015



Well, Kim Davis got what she desperately wanted.

She is now a faux martyr.

Federal Judge David Bunning has ordered her civilly confined until she is willing to comply with the court's order to have her office resume issuing marriage licenses. Interestingly, the plaintiffs' filing asked that she not be confined but merely fined (probably anticipating that the the right wing fever swamps will use this to make her into a “martyr” and claim that this is the beginning of the “criminalization” of Christianity). But Judge Brunning stated that mere fines would not be sufficiently coercive because she was already receiving monetary support from outside sources to pay them. So he chose confinement instead. Davis even said “Thank you, judge” as she was being led away.

She is not been subjected to a criminal penalty, it is purely civil and, in a nice phrase the courts use, “she has the jailhouse keys in her pocket.” All she has to do is agree to obey the order and she will be freed. Indeed, she had that opportunity within hours of her being held in contempt. Five of her six deputy clerks (the only hold out is Davis' son … there is a fine tradition of nepotism in Rowan county, as Davis was a deputy clerk under her mother for 30+ years before she was elected to the post) are willing to to issue the licenses. As long as she agreed not to interfere with them doing her job, she would be freed. But she refused because her name appears printed on the form (as the county clerk) she would still somehow be “authorizing” same-sex marriages. Magical thinking at its finest.

So, she will stay in jail, where she can't stop her deputy clerks, and the issuance of licenses will resume on Friday.

I hope she enjoys that Crown of Thorns Publicity.

Once the office starts issuing marriage licenses, we can ignore her.

"Rhyming with 'goalie' for over 55 years."

I read elsewhere that she was the Boss From Hell, which (together with her relationship history, and recent antics) reinforces my impression of someone who's not too bright and/or suffers from a personality disorder.

But what the hell is the American obsession with having elections for even the most minor of municipal bureaucratic offices?
what the hell is the American obsession with having elections for even the most minor of municipal bureaucratic offices?

I think it probably had to do with the movement of people out from the coastal colonies into the sparsely populated frontier. They weren't bringing a government or bureaucracy with them and when they needed some minimal government functions it was just easier to have the locals pick one from one of their own to do it. The habit stuck.
Noelie! I haven't (not) seen that name for years.
I do not understand this civil imprisonment you mention.

Am I correct that she could be in gaol for the rest of her life if she doesn't abandon her beliefs or is it just until the next election when, I guess, she will not be able to stand for election.

If I am correct it seems an over the top punishment and akin to debtors prison, then again in the USA your police can steal peoples property just because they think carrying a few thousand in cash means you are upto something neferious.
Anonymous, she was in gaol for contempt of court, i.e. disobeying a lawful court order from a judge. That is part of the UK as well as the US legal system. How else would you enforce a court order on someone who can get others to pay any fine you impose? She didn't have to abandon her beliefs, just stop trying to make other people live by them.
I don't know whether she is able to run for office even when in prison. (BTW, in the US, one "runs" for office, where in the UK, one "stands".)

@David Evans,

But contempt of court doesn't mean you can be in gaol for ever does it? Isn't there normally a time limit.
Otherwise the law becomes an ass as annoying a judge can carry a greater penalty than running someone over.

@Anonymous: Probably depends on state law. James Micheal Curley was electer mayor of Boston and served while in jail.
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